The finalists in Ben Franklin’s Agriculture, Food & Beverage BIG IDEA Contest have been announced  


Ben Franklin Technology Partner’s BIG IDEA Contest recently offered agriculture and food & beverage entrepreneurs, innovators and companies in Ben Franklin’s 32-county footprint the chance to pitch to win up to $25,000 in seed funding. This cash prize is designed to support every aspect of turning a business idea into a business reality.

“This is our first time focusing our BIG IDEA contest on a specific industry,” said Stephen Brawley, president and CEO of Ben Franklin. “Our goal is to grow awareness in the agriculture and food & beverage industry, introducing new entrepreneurs to Ben Franklin that would benefit from our programs and resources.”

Finalists were selected from a pool of applicants who are all developing new products, processes and solutions in agriculture and food & beverage industries that are highly innovative and scalable. The eight finalists will make a pitch presentation to a panel of independent judges with expertise in the agriculture and food/beverage industries, Oct. 20, 2022.

You can attend the virtual pitch event by registering at

The finalists

CUPOD LLC, located in Mercer County, is a food-safe sanitizing chemical technology that kills mold, bacteria and viruses with FDA and USDA-approved active ingredients, while reducing carbon footprint with patent-pending "pod-to-bottle" format.

Hayden Hunter Weaver, located in Erie County, creates sustainable packaging and containers made from carbon-friendly, hemp-derived materials.

Honey Bear Kitchen, located in Dauphin County, creates super-premium, delicious ice cream that is dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan and made from scratch using mostly organic ingredients.

Immunagreen, located in Centre County, is an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to antibiotics for control of fire blight disease in apples and pears.

PennPoa, located in Clinton County, is a novel seed harvesting technology for the commercial production of Poa Annua turfgrass, a high-quality and cost-effective playing surface for golf courses.

Premier Manufacturing LLC (Zenedge Energy Drinks), located in Erie County, is a better-for-you energy drink with great taste, less caffeine and less sugar.

ProGro, LLC (Farmulated), located in Erie County, creates organic fruit and vegetable capsule vitamins that are derived from organic, pesticide-free superfoods that are rich in antioxidants.

Unbaked Flour Company, located in Centre County, offers delicious, no-bake snacks that support gut health using prebiotic resistant starch found in green bananas and a proprietary blend of probiotic strains.

The winner will receive:

  • Up to $25,000 in cash
  • An opportunity to pitch the business concept for a $10,000 seed grant
  • A guaranteed seat in a business accelerator program
  • Business mentoring and support from Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Since the start of the BIG IDEA contests, more than $2 million in cash prizes have been awarded throughout Ben Franklin’s 32-county footprint in central and northern Pennsylvania. The contest offers startups and entrepreneurs with some much-needed seed funding, as well as business training, pitch experience and industry contacts — often more valuable than the prize money itself.


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